Eric Bloom : biography
Eric Bloom (born December 1, 1944) is an American singer, songwriter and musician. He is best known as the main vocalist, and "stun guitar" for the long-running band Blue Öyster Cult, with work on over 20 albums. Much of his lyrical content relates to his lifelong interest in science fiction.
A native New Yorker, Bloom was born in Brooklyn, the youngest of three children, and grew up in Queens. His mother was a stay-at-home housewife, active in local charities and family life. His father ran a picture frame and print company in Manhattan, having risen through the company from salesman to President.
Bloom attended JHS 216 (George J. Ryan Junior High School), and then moved on to Woodmere Academy and Cheshire Academy in Connecticut. It was there that he purchased his first guitar, a $52 Harmony full-bodied electric.
After graduating from Cheshire Academy in 1962, he went to Spain for the summer, studying at Menendez Pelayo University in Santander, before starting college in the Fall.
Eric Bloom, known as "Manny" Bloom in college, attended Hobart College in Geneva, New York, studying modern languages. In 1964 he left college early to work for a family car-importing company, but he returned a year later, partially out of concerns that if he wasn’t in college, he would be picked up in the Vietnam draft. The group "Lost and Found", 1966. From left: Peter Haviland, Jeff Hayes, [[John Trivers, Eric Bloom, and George Faust]]In college, Bloom was involved with the casual forming of a couple short-term bands for playing at local venues. One of these was Rick and the Ravons (Bloom being Rick). He also organized music for various fraternity parties. For one of them, he hired a band that later asked him to join. They renamed it as Lost and Found, with whom he performed off and on for a few years. The band was composed of George Faust on guitar, John Trivers on bass, Peter Haviland on lead guitar, Jeff Hayes as drummer, and Bloom singing.
In 1963, Bloom was also exposed to the music of Wilmer and the Dukes, who made a profound impression on him. He attended over 100 of their performances, and he and his band Lost and Found opened for them when they came to play at Hobart. Other major influences were James Brown, and Ronnie James Dio.
In Bloom’s senior year, he was encouraged by his friends to join their Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He also found himself volunteering to do sound engineering at local college events (such as a performance by Iron Butterfly), simply because he couldn’t stand how bad the sound was. It was through his efforts, that the college finally updated to a better sound system, after he graduated in 1967 (receiving a BA in Modern Languages).
Summer of Love – 1967
After college, Bloom toured with the band in upstate New York (he was the only one who had a van to transport equipment). The band had some membership changes and was renamed as Rock Garden. They made one attempt to record a single but could not land a contract, so they continued on with live performances and cover tunes, until the band broke up in July 1967.
Though Bloom had applied and been accepted for graduate school at San Diego State University, he decided instead to spend the Summer of Love of 1967 as a drifter, pan-handling or selling sketches for $1 in Provincetown (P-town), Cape Cod, until he got a job washing dishes. On Labor Day, his college friend Trivers invited him to perform in Clayton, New York the next night. Despite the short notice, Bloom packed up and left Provincetown for good. Lost and Found re-formed and played through the rest of the season.
Soft White Underbelly: 1968-1971
Soft White Underbelly promo, Dec 1968In 1968, Bloom moved to Plainview, Long Island to live with his sister. He obtained a job at the Sam Ash music store in Hempstead, selling music equipment. One day in late 1968 some members of the band Soft White Underbelly, Donald Roeser (later Buck Dharma), Allen Lanier and Andrew Winters, entered the store. One of them spotted a photo that Bloom had put up as a joke—he had placed an 8×10 glossy of his old band Lost and Found up on the wall with all the major bands such as the Rolling Stones and The Who. One of the SWU members recognized it because Les Braunstein, their lead singer, had also been a Hobart College alumnus, and had told his bandmates about the other college band. As Bloom talked with them about the photo, they struck up a friendship. Bloom ended up doing some sound engineering for them at the Electric Circus in Greenwich Village, and they mutually impressed each other enough that in November 1968, the band’s manager, Sandy Pearlman, asked if Bloom would like to become their tour manager. Bloom moved into the group’s house in Great Neck, New York in December 1968.